Select Committee on Animals In Scientific Procedures Report


16 JULY 2002

By the Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures





The Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures was appointed by the House of Lords in March 2001 to conduct an inquiry into the use of animals in scientific procedures in the United Kingdom. Following the dissolution of Parliament, the Committee was reappointed in June 2001. The membership of the Committee, together with their declarations of interest, is given in Appendix 1. The Committee's terms of reference are given in Appendix 2.

The Committee issued a call for evidence in April 2001, to which over 100 organisations and over 350 individuals responded with written submissions.[1] The Committee also took oral evidence from nearly 40 organisations and individuals between May 2001 and May 2002.[2] In addition, the Committee visited universities, pharmaceutical and testing companies and research laboratories in England, Scotland, France and the USA.[3] Towards the end of its deliberations, the Committee convened a one-day conference of interested parties concerned with animal experiments. These included participants from the science community, industry, regulators and animal welfare and animal rights organisations.[4] We are grateful to all those who presented written or oral evidence, and to those who hosted Committee visits in the USA, France, and here in the UK. We are also grateful to our Specialist Adviser, the Reverend Professor Michael Reiss.

Animal experimentation is a subject under almost constant review. During the course of the Inquiry, reports relevant to animal experimentation have appeared from the Home Office, the Animal Procedures Committee, the Boyd Group, the European Union Committee of the House of Lords, the Royal Society, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and many others. Further reports are expected shortly from the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission and from the Animal Procedures Committee. Developments have also taken place in Europe, from the granting of legal rights to animals in Germany, to the progress of legislation on animal testing and cosmetics in the European Parliament. In this context, and particularly in areas of rapid technological change such as the genetic modification of animals, we expect that further reports will become necessary over the next few years.

On the basis of our review of the evidence and of the public debate about animal experiments, we have come to a number of conclusions about the current relationship between human beings and other animals in the context of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The evidence shows that this relationship is not fixed, but has evolved under the influence of modern technological and scientific developments and our growing understanding of animal cognition and suffering. Nevertheless, we conclude that changes are needed in the institutional arrangements, in the information which is made available, and in the attitudes shown by all concerned, from the specialist to the public. These developments should contribute to an improved framework for balancing the legitimate requirements of science and the care and welfare of animals.

1   These are published in the volume of written evidence (HL 150-III). Back

2   This is published in the volume of oral evidence (HL 150-II). Back

3   A record of the Committee's visits is found in Appendix 3. Back

4   The record of the conference is found in Appendix 4. Back

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